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Presidential advisors’ salary disparities shock MPs

By Moses Walubiri

Added 22nd February 2017 08:19 AM

“Salary among presidential advisors varies. There are those who join the service with salary which is personal to holder. For example, a former minister who gets appointed presidential advisor, he is most likely to retain his salary,” Katuramu said.

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“Salary among presidential advisors varies. There are those who join the service with salary which is personal to holder. For example, a former minister who gets appointed presidential advisor, he is most likely to retain his salary,” Katuramu said.

The President's Office Principal Accountant John Mayengo (right) and Secretary President's Office Deborah Katuramu (centre) appearing before the Public Accounts Committee of Parliament, on February 21, 2017. Photo by Kennedy Oryema


Presidential advisors are appointed to office at the pleasure of the same person and essentially do the same job.

 

However, according to Deborah Katuramu, the Secretary Office of the President, some earn just a fraction of their colleagues’ net pay in terms of salary.

 

During an interface with parliament’s Public Accounts Committee yesterday, Katuramu who had a number of technocrats from office of the president in tow revealed that some of the 108 presidential advisors earn the salary of a cabinet minister.

 

Katuramu was at parliament to answer queries by the Auditor General in his audit report for the financial year ending June 2014.

 

“Salary among presidential advisors varies. There are those who join the service with salary which is personal to holder. For example, a former minister who gets appointed presidential advisor, he is most likely to retain his salary,” Katuramu said.

 

Katuramu was responding to Auditor General’s queries about unutilized gratuity for the year under review and what lawmakers Angeline Osegge and Gerald Karuhanga described as unexplained glaring disparities between recipients.

 

“Where is equity in your policies? For people to do the same job and earn differently is unconstitutional,” Osegge said before demanding a list of all presidential advisors and their job descriptions.

 

The decision to demand a list of presidential advisors for the year under review followed concerns that the inclusion of prof. Elijah Mushemeza on the list of recipients of gratuity was irregular.

 

According to Karuhanga, Mushemeza was chairperson of the ruling National Resistance Movement (NRM)’s Electoral Commission at the time of the audit.

 

The issue among a section of Ugandans who feel that the number of presidential advisors is too big and unnecessarily bloats the cost of public administration came up with Karuhanga, Mathias Mpuuga and Joseph Ssewungu saying the president can do with a smaller number.

 

MPs heard that State House has on its payroll 60 senior presidential advisors, 18 presidential advisors, seven deputy presidential advisors and 23 special presidential advisors.

 

“It’s the prerogative of the president to appoint advisors and pay them the salary he deems befitting to them,” Katuramu said when asked by lawmaker about the possibility of reducing outlay on presidential advisors.

 

Meanwhile, for the year under review, State House received sh2b for gratuity and pension for several employees on contract and those who had retired during the previous year.

 

However, sh395m meant for 47 employees was returned to the treasury after officials at State House failed to remit it to their accounts.

 

“You sit in your offices and fail to realize that many retired Ugandans deserving gratuity are languishing in poverty after years of serving this country,” Karuhanga said, dismissing claims by Katuramu that a policy shift that saw payment of pension and gratuity decentralized had a proved a glitch.

 

MPs also heard that the new block housing some offices in the president’s office   is running a risk of utility providers discontinuing services after accumulating sh860m and sh117 for power and water bills respectively.

 

The office blocks also house the office of the prime minister, a host ministries and government agencies.

Utility service providers have of late been bold in dealing with defaulting government entities, with National Water and Sewerage Corporation disconnecting police and Mulago National Referral Hospital over outstanding bills.

 

 

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